–U.S. Ambassador says
United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia Ambassador Michael McCarthy says prosperity and national development rest on Liberia’s ability to attract foreign investors and donor partners. “For prosperity and sustainable development here in Liberia rests on the country’s ability to attract foreign investors, encourage local entrepreneurship and maintain the tax system that is fair and transparent,” Amb. McCarthy said a national judicial conference Wednesday, 7 June 2021 at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
The U.S. Envoy extended a heartfelt congratulatory message to Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. and the staff of the Supreme Court for organizing this national judicial conference.
Ambassador McCarthy said with a strong justice system, and with a zero tolerance to hold corruption in all its form, achieving those goals will require a swift and appropriate approach to ensure that justice in Liberia is accessible to all effectively and free of corruption.
He however pointed out that apart from the Temple of Justice, the Ministry of Justice, civil society and the Liberia National Bar Association all play essential roles,adding that these should be forces of good.
Amb. McCarthy noted that if one stakeholder tries to move the country backward, others should resist and stand for what’s right. He said it is no secret that the U.S. government through its Embassy has a long history of standing beside Liberia to support its justice efforts directly by providing funding. Amb. McCarthy indicated that it is their role, even though the Carter Center and the Embassy remain steadfast in every aspect to a peaceful Liberia.
Also speaking, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wetterquist applauded the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for holding the judicial conference, saying she is glad that after ten years the judiciary thought it wise to host this meaningful conference.
She said the country’s legal system depends on the three branches of government, adding that they are also satisfied with what is being done. Amb. Wetterquist asked the justices to continue in the judiciary, the education and the rule of law here in Liberia. According to her, this creates stability for anyone wishing to engage the country, stressing that it’s very important to have these things in place.
At the same time, Amb. Wetterquist has pledged her country’s support to Liberia, assuring that Liberia can count on Sweden in terms of support because it has been supporting Liberia’s development efforts through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Amb. Wetterquist thanked the judiciary for allowing the Swedish Embassy to be partners in these efforts towards the rebuilding of Liberia and they stand ready to support.
Speaking on behalf of President George Manneh Weah, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Liberia Cllr. Frank Musa Dean said the gathering of legal, and business practitioners at the formal judicial conference is to deliberate on the achievement, progress and challenges of the judiciary.
Cllr. Dean expressed optimism of achieving the goals of the conference, saying at the center of the deliberation no doubt will be the rule of law and moral principles, values that he said are reflected in the institutions of government.
“This deliberation will bring to focus the independence of the judiciary, the need to dispense justice, and straight adherence to principles of law without fear, favor, or interference,” Minister Dean continued.
According to him, under the rule of law a public office is a public trust, and the public trust places an obligation on those holding public office to reflect the principles of the democratic system of governance by exercising their authority in the confines of the law.
“The rule of law is not only about the independence of the judiciary, and the obligation of those in position of trust, it’s also about the ordinary citizens respecting the law,” the Justice Minister indicated.
He said all persons, institutions and entities will be held accountable to the laws that are publicly promulgated and equally be enforced.
According to Cllr. Dean, pillar three of the government’s Pro – Poor Agenda relates to sustaining the peace, and defines a peaceful society as one in which the justice system works for all including the poor and the most marginalized.
He however narrated that the pillar identifies injustice as one of the root causes of conflict, and therefore the government has with the assistance of donor partners including UNDP, Swedish government, US government and others, executed several projects for the peace, justice and strong institutions.
Minister Dean said some of the achievements of those projects like the rule of law project, include increase in the number of capacity of public prosecutors, judges, public defenders, legal aid practitioners, correction officials, social workers and the construction of several court houses.
He added that there is also an alternative dispute resolution project which is intended to enhance and give access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley